The Colorado Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender statute, C.R.S. 18-12-108, is a good example of a law that would have been unthinkable a couple of generations ago. Public opinion, mostly influenced by news commentators, has played a major role in shifting long held beliefs in our country. It was once assumed that citizens have a basic human right to defend themselves, and after a person paid for a crime; his or her rights should be restored.
What Does it Take to be Charged with Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender?
It is against the law in Denver, Arapahoe and Jefferson County, or anywhere in Colorado for a person to possess a firearm if that person has ever been convicted of a felony – either an adult felony or a juvenile adjudication for a felony. Possession of Weapons by Previous Offender statute does not make exceptions for previous non-violent or non-weapon related felonies. Zealous lawmakers in Colorado have convinced voters in Adams, Douglas and Arapahoe County that they are safer because the 60 year old Englewood woman convicted of Forgery, C.R.S. 18-5-102, when she was 20, cannot possess a weapon for any reason for the rest of her life. Read more on how juvenile adjudications qualify as felony convictions in Possession of a Weapon cases.
Politicians Don’t Focus on the Real Problem with This Overly Broad Law
As I see it, the problem with the Possession of Weapons by Previous Offenders, which is supposedly there to keep the public safe, is that it is overly broad in scope. There is no real evidence that people are safer because of it. This law would make more sense if limited to felons who have been involved in gun crimes. Politicians love to propose laws like this because they provide a platform against those who opposes them. If challenged, opponents are said to be soft on crime. How many times have we heard during an election or when a lawmaker is trying to get his name on a bill, “even if this law saves just one life, it is worth it?” Once the public gets sucked into that kind of lunacy, everyone suffers.
As an experienced Criminal Defense lawyer working in the Denver Metro area, it is important for me not to dwell on the way I think things should be, but to focus my energy on the way things are. I continue to vote for level headed politicians who fight against the tide of public opinion and stand up for what is right. But, until crazy laws change, I continue to work within the legal system helping good people in Commerce City, and Littleton, whether innocent or who just made a poor decision, get the best defense possible.
Whether it be a prior conviction for a felony involving Domestic Violence, C.R.S. 18-6-800.3, or not Domestic Violence, people caught with a firearm will be charged with Possession of a Weapon by Previous Offender, C.R.S. 18-12-108. If that has happened to you, we recommend you be smart, exercise your right to remain silent, and call us at 303-731-0719. Together we can protect your future.